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RE: Paul's New Dino field guide



Ian Paulsen wrote-

> Here are some sample pages from Greg Paul's forthcoming Dino Field Guide:
>
> http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s1_9287.pdf

Hmm.  Gotta say I'm disappointed.  I loved PDW and DA, but this seems far less 
technical (not that PDW was even particularly technical).  No specimen numbers 
are included, so the length and mass estimates are not very useful. Still, I 
was hoping for discussions of individual taxa ala PDW, but at most a well known 
genus might get a couple sentences.
 
My biggest problem though is that as a field guide, the main objective would be 
to describe and illustrate the distinguishing features so that one could 
identify dinosaur species.  But of the 12 taxon entries shown, 8 say 
"insufficient information" or "standard for group x" under the anatomical 
characteristics section.  And these aren't nomina dubia either, except perhaps 
Dystrophaeus.  To say Herrerasaurus' anatomy is standard for baso-theropods is 
just wrong.  You can even see some of the diagnostic characters used by Sereno 
and Novas in Paul's skeletal reconstruction- opisthopubic pelvis, shortened 
tibia, posterior ischial outline a right angle, etc..  It would have been 
better to discuss or list each species' diagnosis, then have skeletal 
reconstructions and/or a few of the most distinctive bones illustrated, with 
lines pointing toward several of the most obvious characters.  Then if you 
hypothetically had a complete dinosaur specimen, you could actually use the 
field guide to identify it.  As it is, it's like opening a Peterson Field Guide 
to American birds and seeing the American Robin described only as having a 
ruddy breast, while the wood thrush, varied thrush and veery are merely said to 
be "standard for songbirds."  As for Bicknell's thrush?  Insufficient 
information.
 
Mickey Mortimer                                           
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